FORT LAUDERDALE – Summer is normally a time to take a break from the risks and worries of everyday life, and perhaps to take stock of where we are and where we are heading. But this is increasingly difficult, because our everyday lives are becoming so much riskier and more worrying.
Much of the discussion in the period following the 2008 financial crisis focused on various economic imbalances that either threatened or impeded growth. These issues have not gone away. The US economy’s surprisingly weak performance in the first quarter, for example, has left analysts confused and uncertain about its trajectory.
But, to an increasing extent, political insecurity, potential conflict, and deteriorating international relations pose a greater threat to economic progress than the post-crisis debate foresaw.
Asia, a bright spot in terms of growth in the post-crisis years, is now experiencing rising tensions that jeopardize regional trade and growth. Japan’s somewhat fragile recovery could be derailed by an escalation of its territorial conflict with China, which is both a major market for Japanese goods and deeply integrated into Japanese firms’ supply chains.